Deadline: August 3 to October 16, 2015
The annual Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant program is a great source of funding for improvement projects at public schools in the U.S. Grant funding falls into three categories, including "technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, and facility renovations and safety improvements. If you're looking to beautify your school, or enhance your technology and STEM offerings, this is the program for you.
Deadline: July 15 to September 30
Prize: Grants can range from $2,000 to $100,000, which a large majority falling in the $2,000 to $5,000 range.
Kids In Need Foundation grants are designed to help teachers purchase classroom materials for innovative projects. There are two different programs. One program supports teachers' projects in any subject area, and these projects are judged on creativity and educational merit. Teachers can also select a project from a list of more than 1,200 ideas and apply for funding through the second program.
Deadline: August 1 to September 30, 2015
Prize: Grants are available from $100 to $500.
Would you like to take your students on a field trip next year, but the challenge is funding is holding you back? Consider applying for a Target grant for class field trips. Each year, Target supports teachers across the country, providing small, one-time grants to help fund the out-of-class learning experiences. Interested grant seekers can apply online and view local learning field trips that have been funded.
Deadline(s): September 30, December 31 and March 31
Prize: Grants are available up to $700.
The Classics for Kids Foundation supports school music programs throughout the U.S. by "providing matching grants for new stringed instruments." The foundation's instrument grants go to organizations that can provide evidence of need and that can raise matching funds. Interested schools and non-profit groups can apply online.
Deadline: October 15, 2015
Prize: A variety of matching grant prizes are available.
Currently, the NEA offers grants in two categories, including “Student Achievement” and “Learning & Leadership." Both programs have a Feb. 1 deadline. Student Achievement grants are designed to help teachers engage students in critical thinking and problem solving in standards-based subject matter. Winning programs should also improve students' inquiry, self-paced learning, and critical reflection skills. The Learning & Leadership grants fund professional development experiences and collegiate study for educators.
Deadline: November 6, 2015
Prize: Grants range from $2,000 to $5,000.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is offering dozens of grants for math educators. Through the organization's Mathematics Education Trust, educators can apply for grants, scholarships, and awards, and there are programs for all different types of work, from in-class projects, to math-related research and professional development. Grant programs are available for in-service and pre-service math educators.
Prize: Funding ranges from $1,200 to $24,000.
Do you know a youngster who's working on a service project in their community? They might be working on a community garden, or checking on senior citizens during summer heat waves. If they're leading the charge in their communities, the Karma for Cara Foundation wants to help by offering small grants to students 18 years old or younger.
Prize: Many grants between $250 and $1000 are available.
The Wish You Well Foundation supports programs that foster and promote “the development and expansion of new and existing literacy and educational programs." If you school or organization has developed a project that supports and promotes literacy, this is the grant program for you. To apply, submit a brief questionnaire online, as well as supporting documents.
Prize: In general, grants are available between from $200 to $10,000; many prizes are available and are reviewed four times each year.
Throughout the year, the Fender Music Foundation provides instrument grants to not-for-profit organizations and public schools in the U.S. Grants are available for "traditional instruments" that are used in programs that teach students to make music. In general, grants support music programs in four areas: after-school programs, in-school music classes, music therapy programs, and community music programs.
Prize: Donations of Fender musical instruments are available.
>> MORE: Get information on how to find grants.
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Contests and Awards
Deadline: August 1 to January 1, 2016
Each year, the Prize in High School Computing recognizes the most talented high school students in computer science. To participate, students complete a computing challenge that allows them to showcase their computing skills. This year, participants are asked to develop "an artifact that engages modern computing technology and computer science." Judging will be determined on the "ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, and originality" of the project.
Deadline: October 16, 2015
Prize: There are four $10,000 prizes available. Plus, winners receive a trip to the ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing Reception in February 2016.
The National YoungArts Foundation sponsors an annual scholarship and awards contest for youth artists in the U.S. Awards are available for students aged 15-18, and they're available in a variety of artistic disciplines, including the performing arts, dance, visual arts, writing, and photography. To apply, artists must submit an audition, portfolio or materials related to their discipline before the deadline.
Deadline: July 13, July 30, August 10 (depending on contest)
Prize: Winners receive an invitation to National YoungArts Week events, a cash prize up to $10,000, access to scholarship opportunities, and more.
Calling all youth filmmakers! Project ED is an initiative from Amplify Learning, and the goal is to get amateur filmmakers to "re-image concepts from math, science and English." Each month, Project ED sponsors video contests for filmmakers of all ages (although this a under-18 division), asking them to use their skills to create fun teaching and learning videos. For example, Project ED's "Monsters & Mysteries" contest asks participants to submit short book trailers, recreated scenes from the list of books, and videos of dramatic readings for three classics, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, and Dracula.
Deadline: July 15, 2015
Prize: Most contests offer $1,000 prizes for winners in both under-18 and over-18 divisions.
The annual K-12 Game-a-thon is a national math games competition sponsored by the MIND Research Institute. Each year, the organization asks students to design and build math games that "feature creative and unusual solutions to mathematical problems." Any type of game works, including card games, board games, and apps or video games, but the game must incorporate math problem solving in game play. Teams of two or more students can participate, along with the help of a parent or teacher coordinator.
Deadline: August 31, 2015
Prize: Up to 25 student-created games will be selected for special recognition and will be displayed at MIND’s 2015 Math Fair. Five top winners will receive a prize pack.
Here's one to consider for summer break: TeacherLists is sponsoring a $5,000 sweepstakes for one lucky school. To participate, TeacherLists users can "create, upload, and/or update all the school's 2015-2016 back-to-school supply lists," and share a link on the school's website. At the end of the summer, TeacherLists will do a drawing for the $5,000 cash prize, which can be used on interesting school-wide projects and supplies.
Prize: One school will receive a $5,000 award “to help fund smart ideas that enhance their school community.”
>> MORE: Get information about the latest contests and promotions for teachers in our Edutopia discussion group.
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PBS recently broadcast First Peoples, a series looking at early human cultures around the world. To accompany the series, PBS LearningMedia has created a number of web-based resources for teachers. Included in the package are interactive maps, infographics, short videos and documents.
Unlocking Life's Code is a new tool, created by the National Human Genome Research Institute, that enables students to explore "ethical and social questions surrounding genomic sequencing." The resource includes an online exhibit covering genomic sequencing technology, as well as discussion starters and information about the "growing involvement of genetics" in many areas of our lives.
In today's connected world, it's increasing important for young people to understand the impact their online decisions have. Digital Compass, from Common Sense Media, is a free multimedia interactive designed to help students do just that. The site encourages students to explore "the twists and turns of everyday digital life," and through games and learning modules, students are able to examine "how decisions made online can affect their futures."
Discovery Education has produced a valuable food education resource for students and teachers. Recipe for Innovation features a variety of materials to teach students farm-to-table concepts. There are resources for elementary, high school and middle school teachers that feature lesson plans, a live interactive field trip and student-centered multimedia tools that help students explore the way food is produced.
Have you ever wanted to know how video games can aid learning? Well, this Mindshift guide can help answer some of your question. This originally began a series of blogs by Jordan Shapiro, and Mindshift has developed it into a more in-depth PDF-downloadable guide. This is a great starting point for any educator interested in game-based learning, as it "explains key ideas in game-based learning, pedagogy, implementation, and assessment." Plus, there are suggestions for classroom use, as well.
Developed by EDC's Center for Children and Technology, Possible Worlds is a suite of free games designed to help students learn about science. Currently there are four games available that focus on scientific misconceptions, covering photosynthesis, electricity, heredity, and heat transfer. Each game includes classroom activities for teachers that have been developed to “leverage students’ experiences within the games.”
Looking for to incorporate PBL in your classroom? Well, you might start at PBLU. Here, there are a variety of projects for every grade that are waiting for teachers to implement them in their classrooms. Currently, projects focus on math, ELA and social studies. Plus, PBLU offers a portal for PD classes that explore the design, management and assessment of PBL in classroom practice. Teachers can enroll in a course, but there is a limited number of spots available in each.
EdSurge has culled a list of articles, resources, and videos to help educators incorporate gaming into the classroom. The guide covers the latest research, as well as strategies and tips from practitioners, and there are plenty of useful reviews of ideal classroom games that support learning. This is a great primer for educators looking to incorporate gaming in the classroom, as well as for teachers who have already embraced the trend.
Students and teachers: Interact with experts from the Smithsonian once a month during their hour-long online conferences, held on topics ranging from civil rights to astrophotography. The conference series includes special “virtual teachers’ lounge” sessions for teachers to engage with each other and discuss other Smithsonian learning resources.
STEM–Works is a resource for teachers, parents, mentors, and anyone else wanting to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math. The site offers links to virtual field trips, interactive lesson plans, and fun activities for all grade levels.
With so many apps, websites, and digital tools available, how do you know which ones to use? Graphite, a free service from Common Sense Media, provides reviews and ratings to help teachers find the best digital learning products.
Blendspace, formally Edcanvas, enables teachers to create lessons that incorporate online educational resources in one place. The lessons can then be shared quickly with students, and they can be accessed via any digital device. Additionally, teachers can use the platform's built-in quizzes and monitoring features to measure student progress.